The decision by a La Crosse judge to rethink her retirement plans means it will be business as usual in the county’s courts for a while.
District court administrator Patrick Brummond confirmed that if Judge Ramona Gonzalez had retired this summer, as she had planned, it would have set the stage for a special court race next April.
“It is very uncommon for a judge to decide to retire and then have some time to themselves to reflect and then decide that they’re not ready for that,” Brummond told WIZM, adding that it’s not uncommon for judges to consider retirement during a six-year term in office.
Gonzalez had second thoughts about retiring, announcing that decision Tuesday. So, the next election in Branch 1 is still scheduled for 2025.
Brummond says now he won’t have to help train any new judge, who would have been appointed by the governor.
The current terms of four county judges — Gonzalez, Elliott Levine, Todd Bjerke and Scott Horne – conclude that year. The fifth judge, Gloria Doyle, was re-elected just last year.
The governor’s office had interviewed candidates for judge before Gonzalez wrote to Gov. Tony Evers, saying she planned to stay on the bench. The request for candidates was made April 1.
The most recent La Crosse County judge appointment occurred in 2015, when Candice Tlustosch was named to succeed retired Judge Dale Pasell. Doyle won the general election that April.